Friday, March 29, 2013

Emerging from hibernation...

"When Chekhov saw the long winter, he saw a winter bleak and dark and bereft of hope. Yet we know that winter is just another step in the cycle of life. But standing here among the people of Punxsutawney and basking in the of warmth of their hearths and hearts, I couldn't imagine a better fate than a long and lustrous winter."
-- Groundhog Day

Winter's over, the sun is rising *almost* before me now, and I'm getting back to work. I know you all probably gave up on me but I'm alive and well, and I just spent the last week cleaning and organizing my house, my glass, and my workbench, with a brand new determination to get to the torch, make beads, make jewelry, and then make some sales.

One of the things that's got me going is a little e-book by a Lampwork Etc. friend of mine, Kim Neely of Bluff Road Art Glass. She's written a motivational lampworking book (filled with 55 pages of butt-kicking goodness) entitled Creativity Boot Camp for the Glass Beadmaker. The book is loaded with "techniques and exercises to wake up your muse, help you defeat creative slumps, and bring excitement back to your torch sessions."  After a winter with a mostly-cold torch, I definitely need a little help to get me moving in the right direction again. Even though one of the bits of advice in the book has to do with avoiding procrastination, especially in the method of finding other stuff to do like cleaning house, one of the things that's really kept me away from the torch has been my workbench itself.

As you can see, not a very enticing place to work. I know a lot of lampworkers work and thrive in worse messes every day, but with the limited amount of space and time I have, I need to be able to find my glass and tools when I go to work, instead of having to dig through a pile of dangerous, blood-thirsty rubble every few minutes. So, a couple days ago I went to Home Depot and bought a 24" by 10' roll of aluminum flashing and yesterday (after spending almost my entire spring break cleaning the rest of our apartment) I finally started on my workbench. Here's my pictorial story of the last two day's events:

Removed all the equipment, tools, glass, and bead release dust from the workbench to start with a clean canvas.
Kiln on top of microwave; stringers, mandrels and quenching water on mini-fridge; and tools and frit on the tv tray.
More tools and frit on yet another tv tray. We have a few of those around the house 'cause the space is so small. See my oxycon there? It even got a little cleaning with the vacuum cleaner. Got rid of dust and cobwebs. Yay me! You can even see the roll of aluminum flashing sitting under the tv tray next to the oxycon. Good stuff! The old aluminum oven liner that I used to use for the front of my torch (and I used one for under my kiln too) is folded and in the trash.
Out you go!
From my torch I can see the lovely picture of my gorgeous daughter in her little hula
dress from the photos we had taken last Easter. 
A close up. Isn't she adorable? Squee!
It took two people about 3 hours to get the aluminum flashing secured neatly to the table. I hope I don't have to do that again any time soon. It's gorgeous now, though, so definitely worth it!
Sorting stringer and storing "shorts".
Who says you can't have too much frit? Especially when it doesn't all fit on the lazy Susan you repurposed out of your kitchen especially for the task. This picture makes me imagine that all the frit jars are crowding around the lazy Susan trying to climb up onto it. Hehe.
Torch and hand-rests screwed to workbench, tools organized, frit on TWO lazy Susans (one of them double-height), and everything is within reach. OMG I just remembered. I just placed an order for 10 more varieties of frit from Val Cox Frit!  Where am I gonna store all that frit!?!
And done.
Now I find myself a little intimidated by my lovely workspace to make beads. Tomorrow is another day though, and I'll have the house all to myself for once.


  1. Good job! I know some lampworkers pride themselves on their messy benches but I can't think when mine is disorganized...they made fun of me at Hot Time in the Mountains one year because they caught me "neatening" my work area after every bead, LOL! Your studio looks very inviting now. Just get out there and light the torch and enjoy it! Thanks for the mention and I'm glad you're finding the tutorial useful!


  2. Good Job! I have to do this myself! Inspiration!

  3. I love your site. the tips are awesome, im gonna try all those exercises. hopefully i'll see some sort of change. the pictures are really great too. i love looking at them.
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